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BEST TOY STORE Miami 2002 - The House of Dolls

Dolls are toys too! A toy emporium doesn't have to be packed with Pokémon, G.I. Joes, Beanie Babies, or remote-controlled cars. We'll admit it may be a little creepy walking into this two-and-a-half-year-old store, which is wall-to-wall dolls, and being stared at by a thousand pairs of eyes. But we're happy to report that one pair of peepers belongs to famous Spanish figure Mariquita Perez, a post-World War II favorite of many an affluent Latin girl. Mariquita, born in 1938 San Sebastian, Spain, sports a head full of long brown curls, big blue eyes, and a series of snazzy outfits and accessories -- straw hats, sundresses, sailor suits, and the like. Outside of Spain she is only available here, in a large porcelain-faced expensive example, an eighteen-inch vinyl version, or a mini model. In addition the eight shelves lining the long room offer playthings from the Asi Collection (designed by Angela Simon) and a slew of Madame Alexander collector's dolls, many decked out as fictional characters. Hansel and Gretel wear little lederhosen. The Wizard of Oz's Glinda the Good Witch gently wields her wand while her malevolent green-faced sister, the Wicked Witch of the West, fiercely rides her broom. Folks on a budget can pick up a book of paper dolls. And those who prefer stuffed animals over pretend people can choose from an assortment of terry-cloth-covered teddy bears, cows, and lambs. Shop Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. On Sunday the dolls get some shuteye.

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